Stop Taking Venlafaxine: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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Stop Taking Venlafaxine: 14 Steps (with Pictures)
Stop Taking Venlafaxine: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Venlafaxine is an antidepressant that is used by millions of people worldwide. It is prescribed by doctors to treat depression, anxiety and panic disorders. When prescribing venlafaxine, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions carefully. This means that you should only stop taking the drug if your doctor tells you to. Gradually tapering off the dose and easing any withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing can help you safely stop taking venlafaxine.


Part 1 of 2: Tapering the dose

Stop Taking Effexor Step 1
Stop Taking Effexor Step 1

Step 1. See your doctor

Whatever you do, always consult your doctor first if you feel you should stop taking venlafaxine. You may feel better or have to stop because you are pregnant or have another condition, but stopping the drug at once can cause serious side effects. If you talk to your doctor, you can make an informed decision about alternative treatments, or about stopping venlafaxine altogether.

  • Do not stop or taper off venlafaxine without talking to your doctor. Continue to follow the directions your doctor gave you when he/she prescribed it.
  • Tell your doctor why you want to stop taking venlafaxine. Be completely honest about the reasons so your doctor can consider the best treatment options. There are many reasons for wanting to stop taking the drug, from pregnancy or breastfeeding to interactions with other drugs.
  • Listen carefully to your doctor's suggestions. Ask questions if you have any, for example about the benefits and risks of stopping the drug, and whether alternatives are available. You can always ask for a second opinion if you need to.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 2
Stop Taking Effexor Step 2

Step 2. Take your time

Take the time to stop taking the drug, no matter how long you've been taking it. While it may be tempting to just stop suddenly, doing so can cause difficult and annoying withdrawal symptoms that can make you feel really bad. Depending on your dosage, you should take anywhere from a week to several months to stop taking venlafaxine. Based on your condition and dosage, your doctor will be able to give you a rough estimate of the time it will take to stop taking the drug.

Stop Taking Effexor Step 3
Stop Taking Effexor Step 3

Step 3. Plan the dismantling

You should gradually reduce the dose of venlafaxine. There are probably no rules about the best plan, so talk to your doctor about what's best for you and your body. This means that how quickly you taper off the dose is highly dependent on factors such as how you will feel and how much you experience withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor about the plan to see if it is feasible for you.

  • Take one or two weeks to taper the amount of venlafaxine if you have been taking the medication for less than eight weeks. If you've been taking it for six to eight months, wait one week at a time before lowering the dose again. People who have taken venlafaxine as a maintenance dose for longer should taper off even more gradually. For example, reduce the dose by up to 1/4 every four to six weeks.
  • Write your plan on a piece of paper or in a booklet, in which you can also write down other things, such as your mood or problems you are experiencing. For example, you could put in your plan: "Starting dose: 300mg; 1st reduction: 225mg; 2nd reduction: 150mg; 3rd reduction: 75mg; 4th reduction: 37.5mg"
Stop Taking Effexor Step 4
Stop Taking Effexor Step 4

Step 4. Break your pills in half

Once you've talked to your doctor and made a plan, make sure your dosage is right with your plan. You can have the doctor prescribe a lighter pill, you can have the pharmacist break the pills in half, or you can do this yourself with a special pill cutter.

  • If you are taking venlafaxine XR you should switch to regular venlafaxine. The XR is an extended-release pill, and breaking it in half affects the release mechanism. This means that an overdose is possible, because too much of the substance is released at the same time.
  • Buy a pill cutter at the drugstore or pharmacy. These devices are also available online.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 5
Stop Taking Effexor Step 5

Step 5. Watch yourself closely

It is important to keep a close eye on how you feel while tapering the dose of venlafaxine. It can be good to assess how you feel on a weekly basis. Then you can quickly spot possible problems and you know whether you might be tapering off the drug too quickly.

  • Keep a diary every week. Write down the dose and how it makes you feel. If you feel well and have few withdrawal symptoms, you can continue to taper on your schedule. Do not speed up your schedule, because then you may suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
  • Consider keeping a "mood calendar" every day of the week. You can rate your mood from 1 to 10 each day to quickly identify problems or patterns at a lower dose.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 6
Stop Taking Effexor Step 6

Step 6. Stop tapering if necessary

If symptoms get worse, or if you develop severe withdrawal symptoms, consider stopping the taper. You can always increase your dose until you feel better. Then you can taper off a little more slowly.

Stop Taking Effexor Step 7
Stop Taking Effexor Step 7

Step 7. Keep in touch with your doctor

It's important to keep your doctor informed of your progress as you taper off. Let him/her know if you experience a relapse or withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor can then suggest a new plan or alternative treatment.

If you find it difficult to stop taking venlafaxine, your doctor may suggest switching to fluoxetine (Prozac). You can then taper off the fluoxetine without experiencing withdrawal symptoms

Part 2 of 2: Easing withdrawal symptoms

Stop Taking Effexor Step 8
Stop Taking Effexor Step 8

Step 1. Recognize withdrawal symptoms

Many people experience withdrawal symptoms when they have to stop taking venlafaxine. If you gradually reduce the dose, you may not suffer from it, but it is good to know which symptoms are typical for venlafaxine withdrawal. Ask your doctor about different ways to relieve the following symptoms:

  • Fear
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • vivid dreams
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Concern
  • Chills
  • To sweat
  • Running nose
  • tremble
  • Feelings of uneasiness or doom
  • muscle strain
  • Stomach ache
  • flu-like symptoms
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
Stop Taking Effexor Step 9
Stop Taking Effexor Step 9

Step 2. Seek immediate help

If you become depressed again or think about suicide when you stop taking venlafaxine, call your doctor or go to the hospital right away. A doctor can relieve these symptoms and prevent you from harming yourself.

Stop Taking Effexor Step 10
Stop Taking Effexor Step 10

Step 3. Seek support

When you come off venlafaxine you need all the support you can get. Then you can better cope with withdrawal symptoms and other side effects.

  • Keep your doctor informed of your progress. You can even see a psychiatrist or psychologist as an alternative form of therapy to help you while you stop taking the drug. This can limit symptoms and give you new coping strategies.
  • Let your family and friends know that you are stopping venlafaxine and that you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Let them know how they can help you.
  • Take time off from work if you need to. Be honest with your boss about your condition. If you can't get time off, ask your boss if you can get another job if you experience withdrawal symptoms or if your depression returns.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 11
Stop Taking Effexor Step 11

Step 4. Stay busy

Exercise helps to produce serotonin, which can have a powerful effect against depression. If you stop taking venlafaxine, you can compensate for the drug by exercising regularly. This can also help with the withdrawal symptoms that will make you feel better.

Try to exercise moderately for a total of 150 minutes a week, or five days a week, 30 minutes a day. Exercises such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling improve your mood. Consider trying yoga or Pilates, which will lift your mood and make you more relaxed

Stop Taking Effexor Step 12
Stop Taking Effexor Step 12

Step 5. Eat healthy food

You can enhance the effects of exercise by eating a healthy diet. If you eat meals from the disc of five spread over the day, your blood sugar level remains stable, so that you are less likely to feel sick or have stomach problems.

  • Eat foods from all five food groups. Choose different fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. Make sure that at least half of your meal consists of vegetables.
  • Try to eat more foods with magnesium, which can help control anxiety. Examples include almonds, avocados, spinach, soybeans, salmon, halibut, oysters, peanuts, quinoa, and brown rice.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 13
Stop Taking Effexor Step 13

Step 6. Limit stress

If you are under a lot of stress, it is important to keep it within limits. Stress can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and even cause anxiety.

  • Avoid stressful situations as much as possible. If it doesn't work, get through stressful situations by taking deep breaths, and going to the bathroom or outside for a while so you can withdraw. A short break can also reduce stress.
  • Get an occasional massage to relax.
Stop Taking Effexor Step 14
Stop Taking Effexor Step 14

Step 7. Rest as much as possible

You can get all kinds of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking venlafaxine. You can reduce stress and continue to feel better if you get enough rest. That means you have a regular sleep schedule, and allow yourself to take naps.

  • Get in and out of bed at the same time every day. Sleep at least seven hours a night. Keep your schedule the same on weekends to minimize symptoms.
  • Take a 20-30 minute nap if necessary. Then you will be rested again afterwards and you will suffer less from withdrawal symptoms.


  • Do not stop venlafaxine on your own. Consult your doctor before changing your dosage. Also, do not take any other medicines if you are taking venlafaxine without talking to your doctor.
  • Continue to take venlafaxine even if you feel better. If you stop taking the drug, you may start to feel worse again.

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